Ever since I can remember, I’ve always hated this body of mine. I was tall and skinny but growing up in the Caribbean, skinny was unacceptable. I would sometime stay at the dinner table for hours because I was forced to finish my plate. The weirdest thing is, I did realize I was too skinny , to Haitian standards at least but I had a big belly and didn’t want to eat much in fear that my belly would get bigger.
One could argue that every child has body insecurities, and maybe that is true but my insecurity proved to be even more dangerous & absurd when I was diagnosed with cancer. Here I was at 16 being told I needed to have an amputation, risking infection and even death and all I could think of was will anyone ever love me post-amputation.
Now fast forward to me being 21 and having my first boyfriend, still not completely accepting of my new body and he confesses “Sometimes I feel like there’s something wrong with me for being attracted to someone like you” and I knew exactly what he meant because it was my fear all along. I was angry, I was sad, I was depressed. I didn’t confront him, didn’t ask for an explanation. I even allowed myself to empathize with him.
From that moment on, I wondered if every person I’ll be romantically involve with will have the same sentiment. The worst thing is, I do realize how absurd it was to even allow it to get me down but it doesn’t change the fact that this statement made 6 year ago is still in the back of my mind and from time to time resurfaces.
Every time I agree to an interview the question that always comes up is “How did you come to embrace yourself?” the truth is, like many people, I’m on the long road to self love and there are many obstacles ahead.
I don’t have an exact formula but I think 3 things will make the process a bit easier.
1. Curate your social media feed
The media (social & mainstream) plays a big role in how we view ourselves but nowadays you have control over what you decide to see. Start by following pages on Tumblr and Instagram that you can relate to and that inspire you. Whether it’s an account that posts inspirational quotes, a food feed or a wanderlust account, this is a great way to wake up smiling.
2. Know the difference between though love and abusive/demeaning languages
There’s a difference between someone who is constantly telling you you are overweight and someone who offers to workout with you. While curating your feed is important, don’t forget to filter your friends/family as well. Spend more time with those who love and support you.
3. Be patient
It’s a process so it takes time. Take it one year at a time and celebrate every victory.